Journal Article

Central mass-to-light ratios and dark matter fractions in early-type galaxies

C. Tortora, N. R. Napolitano, A. J. Romanowsky, M. Capaccioli and G. Covone

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 396, issue 2, pages 1132-1150
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Central mass-to-light ratios and dark matter fractions in early-type galaxies

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Dynamical studies of local elliptical galaxies and the Fundamental Plane point to a strong dependence of the total mass-to-light ratio (M/L) on luminosity with a relation of the form M/LLγ. The ‘tilt’γ may be caused by various factors, including stellar population properties (metallicity, age and star formation history), initial mass function, rotational support, luminosity profile non-homology and dark matter (DM) fraction. We evaluate the impact of all these factors using a large uniform data set of local early-type galaxies from Prugniel & Simien. We take particular care in estimating the stellar masses, using a general star formation history, and comparing different population synthesis models. We find that the stellar M/L contributes little to the tilt. We estimate the total M/L using simple Jeans dynamical models, and find that adopting accurate luminosity profiles is important but does not remove the need for an additional tilt component, which we ascribe to DM. We survey trends of the DM fraction within one effective radius, finding it to be roughly constant for galaxies fainter than MB∼−20.5, and increasing with luminosity for the brighter galaxies; we detect no significant differences between S0s and fast- and slow-rotating ellipticals. We construct simplified cosmological mass models and find general consistency, where the DM transition point is caused by a change in the relation between luminosity and effective radius. A more refined model with varying galaxy star formation efficiency suggests a transition from total mass profiles (including DM) of faint galaxies distributed similarly to the light to near-isothermal profiles for the bright galaxies. These conclusions are sensitive to various systematic uncertainties which we investigate in detail, but are consistent with the results of dynamical studies at larger radii.

Keywords: galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: general; dark matter

Journal Article.  13699 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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